Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Hanging in Canada

One of my favorite things to do is to hang out with other church planters. Despite the continued canceled flights and 3 day journey back from Canada it was well worth hanging out with other guys with the passion to plant churches that reach people for Jesus. It is exciting to see the Grace Brethren Fellowship of Churches that I am blessed to be a part of investing in and creating conversations on how to reach people in our changing culture.  I appreciated the opportunity to be a part of this and now am excited to get back to church planting in Virginia Beach and Hampton Roads. 

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Thanks Uncle Sam!!

Every time I turn around lately I've been challenged by the idea of imagination and innovation.  It could be watching Silas (my 3 year old) turn anything into a sword and rocket launcher or maybe it's watching the imagination of God's people come alive.  Over the last year Doug and Ashley have become a part of Awaken after moving into the area for a military transfer.  They represent what I love about the imagination of this area.  Despite only being a couple of years in their faith Doug has caught the imagination for movement of the gospel.  Upon his workups for deployment over the last couple months Doug came to us and repeated to us one of our core rhythms of "sending out" and said I believe Jesus wants me to start a church on my ship while I'm out to sea.  What if we could ignite the imagination of "the Church" and help people see themselves sent as carriers of the gospel and therefore the seeds of a Church Plant?

Please pray for Doug as he is expanding God's kingdom as a missionary literally around the world as you read this.  Also please pray for Ashley and their 3 kids and the Awaken family as we care and love on them while her husband and their daddy is out.  And yes please thank God for Uncle Sam who is paying for this missionary journey!!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

New Neighborhood Group!

At Awaken we desire to start groups in different neighborhoods with different missional targets.  Our newest group is located in the Level Green area of Virginia Beach.  This is a brand new group in the last month lead by Amy and David Sowers.  They had an Easter Party over the weekend and you can see God is blowing the roof off this new group!  All the adults are hiding (haha) as some games for the kids were being played.  Please continue to pray for David and Amy as well as other families that are helping lead this new mission post into a new area.  

Monday, December 21, 2015

Year End Faith Steps

I've always been intrigued by the idea of movement of the gospel and the forms that the church can take on to see this movement within a region.  I remember being new in my faith as a college student praying that God would allow me to be involved in a revival of the gospel.  This year has been continual revelation of what God would have us do as Connie and I took a step back into the world of church planting after having planted Awaken Church 5 years ago.  We haven't stepped away from Awaken entirely, but have moved into a part-time role (allowing other staff to be hired) and allowing us to focus a portion of my time and energies on seeing more churches planted within our region.  Playing with this idea of movement of the gospel; truly being a missionary within our context.

I personally believe that the forms of the church should be instructed by the mission within an area.  In layman's terms the church should look different depending on the people God has called the church to reach.  Some churches may look more like the traditional church that gathers on Sunday morning while others may be more of the expression of the church within a neighborhood.  Over this year God has allowed us to build relationships all through the community and speak into different forms the church can take in order to reach more people and various demographics of people with the gospel.  One relationship is a church with traditional forms for worship and different models for multiplication.  Another relationship is with a local business man and how the church can be developed within his context of service already in the community.  

There are so many stories I could share from this year and so much more technical things I could get into about how we are seeing the church develop and engage our culture here.  But in short I want to say it is exciting to see how God continues to unveil what he is doing in you and through you as we continue to step forward in faith.  It is exciting to see people coming to know Jesus!  We look forward to the faith steps ahead and thank you for your prayers and support!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Unlikely Heroes

Tim (left) and Mike (right) seeing each other for the first time after the transplant (nothing more comical than listening to two grown men drugged up, talking, and caring for each other)

When you are involved in seeing Jesus impact people God gives you a window into some of the most unlikely of heroes that He works through.  This past week I had an amazing opportunity to see one of the greatest stories and miracles I've ever seen.  Tim on the left donated his kidney to Mike on the right.  This for me is like a modern story screaming off the pages of scripture.  

Mike and Mary have been a part of Awaken for a few years now and have walked through their own challenges as we all do.  However this past year their challenges became the news that none of us want to hear; Mike needed a new kidney.  While placed on the transplant list and waiting for God to provide a miracle Tim and Wyonna who have become a part of Awaken in the last year or two heard of a brother's need that lead to this amazing story of an unlikely group of heroes.  Tim and Wyonna gave a kidney.

When I asked Tim why, his simple response was "obedience".  "God told me to do it so I had to do it."  Per his words God was "not on his radar before Awaken".  Mike and Mary at the same time are unlikely heroes as it takes someone with boldness to accept someones willingness to give them a new life.

I praise God that He allowed this story to be told on the tapestry of Awaken Church and we were all witnesses.  It is a beautiful picture of life and how God works through His people in many different ways to give life.  Pray for these families as they recover and have had many opportunities to share their faith in Jesus.

Mary is Mike's wife (left), Tim pre-op, and Wyonna his wife (right)

Mike pre-op who just received Tim's Kidney

God Is Moving

Young Church Planter Gathering in Orlando
I have the privilege of being connected with a group of churches called the Grace Brethren Fellowship.  When our family moved to the Hampton Roads area 7 years ago to work with church planting it was my hope to see my tribe of which I came to trust Jesus through encourage more church planting throughout the U.S.  In October I was invited to hang out with some great people from all over the country in Orlando Florida who are seeing the gospel expanded through the planting of new works.  There were great conversations and all kinds of different stories of what God is doing within His Church.  Honored to have been invited and be apart of seeing Jesus expand His Kingdom! Thanks FGBC for putting an emphasis on seeing new churches started!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

This past week was a powerful message about God's restoration that I don't believe we often times consider.  We like the idea of God restoring us.  We like the idea of God creating us new.  Do we understand however that often times when we go to Jesus we don't only receive more than we bargained for, but we often times have to give more than we bargained for.  

We are reminded of this in the story of Jairus the synagogue ruler and the woman disease stricken with constant bleeding in Mark chapter 5.  Jairus goes to Jesus to ask for Jesus to come immediately to heal his daughter who is dying.  Jesus begins to follow as a crowd presses in who is determined to see another shock and awe event.  A diseased woman in the crowd seeking healing herself sneaks in and touches Jesus' cloak.  It says instantaneously power like dynamite left Jesus and the woman was healed.  Jesus then becomes the prosecutor asking the question that nobody wanted asked: "Who touched me"?  The woman didn't want asked; she simply wanted to sneak in and sneak out for physical healing.  The disciples didn't want the question asked as they are figuring Jesus helping a prominent religious figure may help get Jesus back on track with a group who is finding him more and more unfavorable.  Then there is Jairus, the man whose daughter is dying, who is thinking and begging can we just hurry.  

The question that nobody wanted asked.  Nobody!  The woman just wanted physical healing, Jairus just wanted his daughter to live, the disciples just wanted Jesus not to upset anymore people.  But Jesus asked the question that nobody wanted asked.  I don't believe this is too far removed for us.  I think Jesus is constantly asking us questions that we don't want asked.  I believe they are questions of unmaking, questions that tear down false believes that we've built about us, about God, and about the world we live in.  I believe they are questions of convictions and redirections and challenging insights to where our hearts really are at times.  Again questions none of us are comfortable with.

So what is restoration?  In order to find restoration does there first need to be an unmaking; an unmaking of belief's, an unmaking of selfishness, an unmaking of the things that draw us away from the things of God.  You see the diseased woman just wanted to find physical healing, but through the questions Jesus wanted to bring emotional and social healing to someone who was a societal outcast. Jairus just wanted his daughter to find physical healing, but Jesus wanted to help Jairus find healing at a deeper level of trusting God with that which is most cherished, family.  Then the disciples are learning Jesus is about more than they originally thought.

What is the deeper healing or restoration God is wanting to do in our own lives?  We must often times lose ourselves to really be found.  Here lies the unmaking.

(below is the song we challenged our people with this past Sunday)

(here is the entire message from this past Sunday about the restoration process God is up to)